James Kamau is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist. His first community act was to form the Dagoretti Corner Amani Group which served as a soccer club for the children in the neighborhood in Kenya. It quickly turned into a homework club to help the children whose parents were illiterate.
That desire to help people is such an intrinsic part of who he is that when he emigrated to Canada, he founded the Youth Initiative Canada (YIC), an organization that strives to build lasting youth programs in both Canada and Kenya. YIC engages young people in multidimensional programs geared toward social change through music, arts, sports and social entrepreneurship.
One of the programs, ‘Beyond Hoops’, is a basketball and life skills program run in both Kenya and Canada with the purpose of using the sport of basketball as a vehicle for social change and as an intervention to reach out to young talented people who don’t get a chance to excel in education and athletics because of limitations and financial barriers. YIC also offers programs focusing on music and the arts. They also offer programs on social entrepreneurship.
He tells Canadian Immigrant, “When I go to schools here to talk about global citizenship, the kids always tell me that they don’t think their $5 is going to help. I can tell them that I come from there and it will. It’s incredibly powerful, adding your voice and your actions to a cause. Once you tell your story, you never know — someone, somewhere just might want to come through.”
Powerful words indeed.